Ian Stewart, reportedly healthy again after wrist surgery, is set to re-sign with the Cubs, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that it’s a one-year, $2 million deal with up to $500,000 in incentives.
Stewart hit .156/.243/.221 in 122 at-bats for the Rockies in 2011 and .201/.292/.335 in 179 at-bats with the Cubs last year, but the hope is that the wrist surgery will allow him to turn his career around at age 27 next year.
Once considered one of the game’s top prospects, Stewart never met expectations in Colorado. Still, he wasn’t a complete bust, either, hitting .246/.334/.454 with 53 homers in 1,077 at-bats from 2008-10. As weak as the third-base market is this winter, it made more sense for the Cubs to give him another shot than it did to overspend for an outsider.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.